POUNDS OF FOOD DISTRIBUTED
Access to safe, healthy food is a basic human right, yet one in eight Canadians struggle to eat every day, and is the primary cause of poverty. Despite this, Canadians are wasting a phenomenal amount of food, roughly 6 million tonnes a year. This annual food waste creates 50 million tonnes of CO2 emission and wastes 2.5 trillion litres of fresh water. Nova Scotia is one of the most food insecure provinces in Canada, yet 40% of their food is going to waste.
Enactus Saint Mary’s decided to take action by launching Square Roots, a social business that sources imperfect produce from local farmers and works with low income communities to increase their access to affordable fruits and vegetables by selling the produce in low cost bundles. The team takes orders for the bundles, sorts the produce into bundles and distributes them to customers at convenient locations across Halifax. Additionally, Square Roots has created a cashless currency, where physical tokens are purchased and exchanged at partner restaurants for a full meal made from surplus ingredients. Customers can buy the tokens for personal use or donate to those in need.
This year, Square Roots was launched in Uniacke Square, Halifax, with the help of two youth from the community. Since its launch, the project has already distributed over 10,000 lbs of food to hundreds of families, while bringing in nearly $11,000 in revenue that has been reinvested to grow the business. Since the pilot of the token program, 240 tokens have been sold and 4 partner restaurants have signed on to exchange the tokens for meals. Square Roots empowers communities and connects people who are hungry with food that would have otherwise gone to waste.